Blockchain technology — a phrase no short of being called a buzz. Its impact, or at least the presumed influence, has been so profound that one could easily compare it to the advent of the Internet in the late 90s.
This century began with an information revolution, which paved the way for e-commerce and swiftly switched over to social connectedness. Replace “information revolution” with “cryptocurrency revolution,” and there you are, defining Blockchain in its prime.
Mind you; we’re talking about the financial sector. A sector that operates under high skepticism in the age of cybercrime. So, if a technology is bringing about a significant and progressive transition in its working, it sure does hold immense value and potential.
In this case, value for large and small businesses alike, the government, and, above all, an average person.
Blockchain Technology Explained
Someone, at some point, has always been in charge of the database where your transaction details are stored. Only as long as this database is in secure hands, your assets are secure.
For addressing this uncertainty, experts have spent a good portion of the 21st century figuring out a secure way to carry out transactions. The result — Blockchain is better than everything.
This is because blockchain technology works on a distributed ledger. In simple words, the transaction details are stored in blocks that are distributed across the network, thus, the name blockchain. Any change in one of the blocks is reflected across the entire chain.
What does this mean?
In concrete terms, if a hacker has to breakthrough, he would have to make changes to every block in the network. And that isn’t easy since the chain of blocks keeps stretching.
Take Bitcoin and Ethereum for a reference. These are cryptocurrencies operating on the blockchain principle. Since they are extensively used, their Blockchain keeps on updating. The higher the number of blocks, the greater is the challenge to tamper with the network.
Why has Blockchain Technology Been Hyped for so long?
Trust. Well, there’s no better way to reflect upon the importance of Blockchain than to bring forth the trust factor.
Its mechanism is so robust that even a person with zero-prior knowledge can operate safely thanks to homomorphic encryption. Not only this, the multiple encryption and validation process makes way for a procedure that is ideal for replacing the traditional practices of accounting and auditing.
Above all, there’s absolutely no chance of third-party intervention. For this reason, blockchain technology presents itself as a win-win financial intervention for individuals, especially those who come from an economically weaker background.
In their review of blockchain technology, Ma et al. (2020) bring to light its ability to develop a worldwide-trust-network.
“The birth of blockchain is the beginning of human beings to build a value transmission network, which is expected to lead us from personal trust, institutional trust to machine trust.” —Ma et al. (2020)
So, if there’s hype about this technology, it’s unquestionably genuine. And even if the hype dies out, one must not overlook the following benefits of blockchain technology for an average person.
Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Individuals
International Money Transfer Made Easy
International money transfer entails painstaking attention to the process. The high commission rates charged by banks and companies further add to the woes. However, these can be overlooked if an appropriate blockchain intervention is employed.
The Conversation magazine recently brought forth an astounding contrast between traditional practices and blockchain transactions. The author quoted an example of a US worker sending money back to Ghana with a significant commission cost involved — almost 20%.
On the contrary, Bitspark (now closed) used to charge only 1% for amounts exceeding $150. And this is evident with most international transactions these days. This is precisely why big players have cut down the commission rates. They obviously have to!
Which portion of the society is influenced the most?
To be honest, the international transfer advantage benefits anyone, but people from an economically weaker background thrive the most. Their already handful income doesn’t face further cuts, and they couldn’t be more satisfied.
Identity Realization — CRITICAL
Now, what’s the most important thing in the world for a person to be identified? Well, there’s no single thing. In fact, it can be your passport, country-specific identity card, or even your birth certificate.
What if you don’t have access to any of those? A fix, isn’t it? Now, lend a moment to those who don’t even possess smartphones or computers. The world is not as gleamy as it appears.
The World Bank reports that more than 1 billion people in the world don’t have access to any sort of identity proof. What’s further worrying is the fact that half of the women in the underdeveloped nations don’t have an identity.
Imagine how scary it would be not to have any proof whatsoever of your existence.
Fortunately, Blockchain addresses this too by facilitating the creation of decentralized identity. It works for identity creation even when there’s no official identity proof, thus, providing an opportunity for the poor people to come forward.
For those vary of fraudulent activities, this is like an icing on the cake and much more than that. Why?
To cut a long story short, your identity is protected by a Decentralized Public Key Infrastructure (DPKI), stored in a Decentralized Storage, and you become the manager of the same.
The Automotive Boom — You just CANNOT SKIP this!
A 2018 IBM study shed light on Auto Pioneers’ inclination towards the Blockchain technology. The study went as far as quoting that, by 2021, Blockchain would be guiding the automotive industry.
“Fifty-six percent of OEMs and 52 percent of suppliers agree that the blockchain investments their companies choose to make will be highly influenced by the opportunity to develop new business models.”
—IBM Institute for Business Value (2018)
Why such inclination?
The reasons are many, from supply chain management to manufacturing process and finance management to vehicle’s data security. However, what appeals most to the companies and the customers alike is the facility to engage in seamless buying and selling across the world.
Companies like Carnomaly have adopted the Blockchain and the associated cryptocurrency model for the good of customers. This model allows for the payment with cryptocurrencies and the creation of blockchain registries, which further eases vehicle verification.
For instance, Carnomaly facilitates payments through leading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and LTC. The customer can directly confirm the payment with the dealer anywhere in the world and get the vehicle shipped. Simple — Fast — Secure — Reliable.
The Food Industry — One that must be brought to your Attention
COVID-19 taught the world that not everything could be left unverified. This holds precisely for the import of different food products. Food monitoring requires a sophisticated procedure, and that keeps the companies away from adopting every measure to ensure safety.
While there are various safety standards that must be complied with, food safety remains a concern, especially in underdeveloped and developing nations. This is the reason why an average person must be concerned, and this is how food manufacturing, processing, and transportation become integral to an individual’s life.
With Blockchain at disposal, all these concerns can be easily warded off. IBM Food Trust is an exceptional example of Blockchain standing against the supply chain and monitoring issues. The company ensures end-to-end visibility by maintaining blockchain registries.
These registries are gold mines for determining the status of the food —fresh produce or not. Since this is Blockchain we’re talking about, the information is always in the open. IBM’s Insights capabilities module keeps the transparency intact.
Not only the speed of tracing is increased, tracing stretches from tip to toe. Hence, the end consumer always receives what’s healthy. Such a revolution in the food industry market was far off the table a few years ago. However, blockchain technology has brought about a progressive transition, which is being leveraged for good reasons.
There’s no single side to blockchain technology. While at times, it is the best bet for eliminating third-party-intervention, the very next moment, it facilitates swift and secure working through cryptocurrencies. And that’s precisely what makes it extremely successful.
Although Blockchain is mostly talked about in relation to businesses, the main advantage lies with the end-users. This is because the technology’s advent helped the common man prevent his transactions and identity from becoming prey to fraudulent activities.
What further fuels its influence is that governments are now trying to Blockchain for a variety of finance-related procedures. Not only does Blockchain maintains the resources, it significantly optimizes their existence — the decentralized nature further eliminates any threat of corruption.
So, from a broad view, Blockchain is all for the public benefit. Since its dynamic, it fits aptly with the requirements of the modern-day. The day all the governments recognize this, hackers won’t be left with any chance to exploit.
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